President fires up crowd gathered to mark anniversary of Roe v. Wade
A day before the first anniversary of his inauguration as president of the United States, Donald J. Trump stepped out into the White House Rose Garden and was live-streamed to a large video screen about a mile away to speak to a cheering crowd gathered for the March for Life. Though presidents have addressed the annual March by phone from the Oval Office, Trump on Friday became the first sitting U.S. president to directly address the rally by satellite hook-up.
“Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life,” Trump said.
As proof of that, the 45th president told participants at the 45th annual March for Life that soon after taking office he reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funding of overseas abortions. And this week, his administration inaugurated a new office in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce conscience protection laws, and rescinded an Obama-era Medicaid guideline that limited the way states could take action against medical providers that provide abortion.
Vice President Michael R. Pence, who addressed the rally in person last January, introduced Trump to the crowd gathered near the Washington Monument, as well as to a smaller crowd gathered in the Rose Garden.
Trump called to the podium Mary Donadio, who works at Room at the Inn, a Catholic ministry based in North Carolina that serves homeless, pregnant women and single mothers with children. Donadio became pregnant at 17, but with the support of her parents she had the baby. She later went on to help establish the facility to support homeless pregnant women.
“Most important of all, it is the gift of life itself,” he said. “That is why we march and that is why we pray.”
Ahead of his speech, Trump proclaimed Jan. 19 as National Sanctity of Life Day.
Though Trump’s speech was the biggest news of the March, he was one of many speakers at the rally. Others included House Speaker Paul Ryan and several other members of Congress; Pam Tebow, the mother of former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow; and a panel of religious figures.
Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, said that the pro-life movement “on the rise” because “truth is on our side. Life begins at conception. Science is on our side.”
“We never anticipated that we would be here for so long,” March for Life president Jeanne Mancini told Fox News, reflecting on the 45 years since the U.S. Supreme Court liberalized abortion laws nationwide with the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions. “Today, we grieve the loss of life. But it’s also an enthusiastic time; we’re changing hearts and minds.”